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Photovoltaic Retinal Prosthesis for Restoring Sight to Patients Blinded by Retinal Injury or Degeneration

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Technical Report,01 Feb 2015,31 Jan 2016

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Stanford University Stanford

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Ocular trauma can result in traumatic retinopathy, which, like retinal degeneration, leads to blindness due to loss of photoreceptors. We are developing a photovoltaic subretinal prosthesis which directly converts light into pulsed electric current in each pixel, to stimulate the nearby neurons and thereby reintroduce visual information into retina. Images captured by the camera mounted on video goggles are projected onto retina by video goggles using pulsed near-infrared light. Modular design of these wireless arrays allows scalability to thousands of pixels, and combined with the ease of implantation, offers a promising approach to restoration of sight in patients blinded by retinal degenerative diseases. We propose to advance this remarkably successful technology towards clinical testing, including the following addition of the biocompatible protective coating for long-term implantation in human patients, fabrication of the video goggles with a camera, image processing software and user interface for physicians and patients. If successful, photovoltaic retinal prosthesis with 70 microns pixels is expected to provide visual acuity close to 20200, and after the described preparations to the clinical use, will be commercialized in collaboration with an industrial partner.

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